Chuck Shute Podcast

Rayen Belchere (Early Ray)

July 15, 2020 Rayen Belchere Season 2 Episode 44
Chuck Shute Podcast
Rayen Belchere (Early Ray)
Show Notes Transcript

Early Ray frontman Rayen Belchere calls in to discuss the history of the band and their new single, "Apple Pie" which is a re-imaging of Warrant's "Cherry Pie"

00:00 - Intro
01:50 - Growing up in South Carolina 
10:12 - Musical Influences Growing Up
13:09 - Hanging With Motley Crue
16:40 - Singing Backup Vocals with Alice Cooper
18:58 - Leaving Wednesday Thirteen to Start Early Ray
21:01 - Early Ray Name Origination 
22:25 - Early Ray Band Members 
25:05 - Billy Morris and Apple Pie Song
27:40 - Friendship with Jani Lane of Warrant 
32:05 - Songs Written With Jani Lane 
33:15 - Wrapping Up the Warrant Connection 
36:22 - Opening for Zach Brown, Charlie Daniels & More
38:17 - Ozzy Osbourne
40:55 - Surviving as a Musician in the Pandemic 
45:05 - Pop Culture Famous Locations 
50:00 - Making an Indie Movie- "Neato Mosquito" 
52:20 - GoFundMe for Animals 
54:35 - Doing a Show in Arizona? 
56:05 - Wrap Up

Rauen Beschere Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/rayenbelchere/

Go Fund Me Animals:
https://www.gofundme.com/discover/animal-fundraiser

Chuck Shute Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/chuck_shute/

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Chuck Shute :

Welcome to the show. Today my guest is a rain Bell share. He's the frontman for the band early Ray. They are country rock band from South Carolina. So I talked to him about a lot of stuff growing up in the south Southern cuisine. Growing up a heavy metal fan playing with a lot of the heavy metal fan of bands that he was a fan of and toured. He toured with a guy named Wednesday 13 kind of like a Marilyn Manson type band and he played with Motley Crue and Alice Cooper and Slayer and all these other famous heavy metal bands. And then of course, he talked about his friendship with Jamie lane, the singer of warrants. And now with his country band, early Ray, they, they do it's not really a cover. It's more of a reimagining of the song cherry pie. They've call it now apple pie. It's got different lyrics. So check that out. We'll see We'll talk a little bit about movies and filming locations because he likes to visit famous pop culture locations just like me. So as a lot of fun, it's great chatting with him and fun to have mom enjoy it.

Rayen Belchere :

Hello, Ray. Hey, how's it going? Good. How you doing buddy?

Chuck Shute :

Good, good. Good. Welcome to my show.

Rayen Belchere :

Yeah, man, thanks for having me.

Chuck Shute :

Thanks for doing this. Yeah, so you go do you go by just Ray right I mean, your full name is ran Bell share though, right?

Rayen Belchere :

Yeah, go by Ray and you can call me Ray Ryan. I get it all. If you just say our something I thought you would get it but I last names. It's kind of kind of hard to pronounce as well. Bell share, but it's what I was given. You could call my name Ray and like the fabric except in

Chuck Shute :

Okay. Okay. Ran So, yeah, so you're from Rock Hill, South Carolina. So I tried to do a little bit of research on that city. You guys had a lot of good football players when they're one of I'm a big Seahawks fan so jadeveon Clowney is from there. I don't know if you knew that.

Rayen Belchere :

I did know that he's a he's a he works out at LA Fitness, the same gym I go to in with Stephon Gilmore from the Patriots. And Chris hoper used to play for the Steelers. The big football town I actually play for the same elementary school football team peewee league team as a clowny. So we read per capita, like city size, versus how many NFL players they produced. We're number one in the country.

Chuck Shute :

Today I believe they are because it's it's a smaller town, right?

Rayen Belchere :

Well, we've become, we used to be up until about five years ago, we started growing out Charlotte started growing so big and grew into Rock Hill. But we're we're right past the state line of North Carolina into South Carolina, but we've we've become a little bit bigger of a small town town. But, you know, five years ago there was it was everybody Because now it's kind of starting to, you know, get a lot of new people coming in and a lot of new construction and a lot of new stuff. Kind of like everywhere.

Chuck Shute :

Okay, is that so? Are you by that south of the border town? Did you ever visit there

Rayen Belchere :

that on like the south of the border, like the gift shop, it's like

Chuck Shute :

it's like a like a Hispanic or Mexican themed town. We went to North Carolina and we wanted to go to Myrtle Beach and stuff. So we drove. We drove all through North and South Carolina, but I remember seeing that and thinking it has like a big water tower with a sombrero it's kind of a touristy kind of plays.

Rayen Belchere :

Yeah, pass through there bunch of times. And you know, they used to have a zoo, which crazy but yeah, but I think it was kind of one of those Tiger kings zoos where it was a little sketchy so Oh, shut down. Yeah, I believe that down but but yeah, it's a little wild down here in South Carolina.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah. How would you because I think people have this perception of The south. I know I did. And I was kind of excited to go visit and see, you know, Southern culture, I thought it would be like a real Southern culture, and it'd be so much different. And you know, we landed in Charlotte, and Charlotte is just it's like any other city, it's you couldn't tell the difference between that and Denver. But, you know, Rock Hill, I'm assuming is a little bit more as or more Southern culture there.

Rayen Belchere :

Yeah, you know, depending on what type of stuff you're looking for, if you're looking for Southern food, it's really good idea to do your research or ask the local because there's a lot of chains out here who try to disguise themselves as seven. Yeah. So if you or if you want to go to let's say, You're like, hey, I want to check out, you know, a healthy coke like a real lag. Like, what was that movie? john travolta was in Irving cowboy like, yeah, Honky Tonk? Yeah, he exists everywhere you decide to look for, you just have to know somebody or you have to do some research. ever get back down this way? And you can you want to say some traditional Southern kind of vibe and culture just hit me up. I'd be happy to help you out.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah, that'd be that'd be great because I remember we we went down there and I was looking for oddly enough because I know we'll get and we'll get to this your new song apple pie but I was looking for a good you know home cooked like meal with like a slice of pie like so I wanted to go to a diner and have a pie and I couldn't find a diner with pie. It was a meal and we drove all through North and South Carolina. It was insane.

Rayen Belchere :

Well, there's you probably without even knowing it passed 50 of them but I definitely pass

Chuck Shute :

a lot of churches. I will say that we did see a lot of churches.

Rayen Belchere :

Yeah, there's a lot of churches but there's a lot of a lot of those places. It's it's really weird because of a lot of the growth and a lot of the chain restaurants a lot of the really small Southern kind of cooking play. They don't even advertise they may run They don't even have a sign out front because they are so busy with locals who want to just enjoying the food they like. It's not to get rid of people. Yeah, man. It's just a manage what they can manage. But yeah, if you ever get back down this way, man, let me know. I'll send you a proper list of some great spot.

Chuck Shute :

Oh definitely. Once the pandemic thing is over and people can travel, but so like speaking of food, now your mom was a short order cook. So does she have any good Southern dishes that she cooked up for you guys?

Rayen Belchere :

Oh, man. Absolutely. My mom was down in the south. There's pretty standard places and they're everywhere, but especially here it's like a three bed D and a meat plate kind of place. And my mom cooked you know, collard greens, cabbage, to meet low sweet potatoes, big pie, apple pies. pumpkin pies. Take I mean, it's just I'm a big boy for a reason.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah, you're making me hungry. So does she she goes out and works and cooks. Does she come home and cook or she like, she likes like I always wonder that kind of stuff like what people are housekeepers are, they go home and they live in a messy house because they're so sick of doing that, or she just like, I'll just cook more and cook for you boys, or

Rayen Belchere :

not my mom, that my mom grew up, you know, back in, out of small town days of Rock Hill, and, you know, the education system wasn't that great. And she dropped out of school, they wouldn't take her in, in those particular schools. for a lot of reasons, they weren't taking certain kids in certain areas. So she dropped out and learned how to cook. So when she learned how to cook that became her pride and joy. So she loved cooking for us or more than, you know, cooking at the restaurant. She was she was she was she still will, you know, call me up and be like, come over grab food. She loves it. That's that When you meet a, like a southern lady who takes pride in her cooking, you'll get up in the middle of the night and cook for you. Okay, let's go. You're hungry. You know, I back in the day when I was a kid, I'd come home from playing a little GarageBand shows around town and be 1am and She'd wake up if you'd like you hungry? You know, like so. Now see, she was a that's her pride and joy that that's something she takes a lot of pride in as being a being a cook.

Chuck Shute :

Oh, for sure. Okay. And then so your dad he was a mill worker and he coached football and baseball. So I'm assuming or I think I know that you did play football. You almost went to University of South Carolina. Right. So you played sports growing up a lot. That was a big part of your life.

Rayen Belchere :

Yeah. Yeah. I'm a gigantic person. I was. I'm built like a tight end. I'm 642 hundred whatever pounds now i don't know but my dad was grooming me to be an athlete and I was struggling with it because I found in my brother's room, I became a I became obsessed. And my brother who is like 510 was the one who was obsessed with being an athlete. It was like we were born in the wrong body. Whoops Yeah, but he my brother was a starting quarterback, his local high school all star guy and went played baseball in college for a minute and try it out for the football team. But back then our team South Carolina, which we're still, you know, no powerhouse, but you know, those are the years of going Oh, and 11. They'll be you know, having recruiters come to your school and go that guy. Back then the recruiters because your school, high school and go who's the biggest guy at school, they would be like on on the team know, at the school, and they would get you and say, Hey, you ever thought about playing football, just like they find these soccer players or these basketball players in other countries and go and play football. You know and they'd never played in and I got I got soft recruited to go play and but it just wasn't for me. I wanted to go to LA and try to be a rock star. So

Chuck Shute :

yeah, so that so you you discovered your brother's kiss records and you became a big kiss fan Did you ever put on the makeup?

Rayen Belchere :

Oh yeah, dude, I got a catering for Halloween

Chuck Shute :

so then you are a fan Oh,

Rayen Belchere :

oh really? No. Yeah. Oh my Facebook accepted photos of me messaging so yeah, I'm big, big nerd. I'm a big nerd for that stuff. And then

Chuck Shute :

you you went from being a fan to actually playing your grandfather bought your guitar at age 14. Was that an acoustic or electric guitar

Rayen Belchere :

I don't know if that was misquoted, but I was a lot younger than 14 I think or things when I got my first electric okay. My grandfather bought me my music when I was like seven or eight. Right when I became obsessed with it. Oh, that's really a couple of streams. It was it was like a flea market guitar and that the action was so high you just couldn't play it. So I spray painted it and, and did the whole, you know, crash the guitar on concrete just to just to practice my guitar breaking the guitar thing. So, yeah, I did that when I was eight but when I was like 1314 I got my first electric which was a PD predator, red and white like,

Chuck Shute :

guitar I had. That's funny.

Rayen Belchere :

Yeah, like that. Do you remember like the fender style kind of like TV predators? They kind of look like yes,

Chuck Shute :

I was kind of minor. Mine was black and white it?

Rayen Belchere :

Yeah, same one. I think they came in red and white and black and white and white. Yeah, yeah. But that was my first guitar had low PVS. And I taught myself how to play and then that started my whole whole march towards talking to you today. So Sure. So

Chuck Shute :

yeah, besides key One other I know you were kind of into the hair metal 80s rock scene what other bands were really influential for you?

Rayen Belchere :

When I was growing up, I grew up in, in, you know, the Bible Belt south. So I was surrounded by country gospel. I was a kid so I really liked what I thought was cool was like monsters and rock and fire and blood like kiss and I really really got into Motley Crue, I was a member of the Motley Crue fan club, I still have my membership card when I was eight, eight or nine. And in the movie decline of Western civilization came out part two, the metal years and my life changed. I was like, I'm gonna go for that. And I did and I've had a few successes along the way that were pretty cool. And I got to experience that and a lot of people I looked up to are now my peers and friends and but yeah, a lot of people hide hide from them. endpoints of the 80s and I run to it.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah. So you actually played a show with Motley Crue once, right?

Rayen Belchere :

I did the I played bass for a guy named Wednesday 13th as a shock rock guy.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah, like a Marilyn Manson kind of right?

Rayen Belchere :

Yep. Yeah, we did in summer 2005 we had a video out on Headbangers ball. We had a record out on Roadrunner. He was just coming off of the run with the murder dolls and he had a lot of hype and we got to play castle Donington we did all the festivals we played with everybody from motley to Manson to Slayer, everybody in motley, especially Wednesday and I can't come from here. And we met ironically, for the first time when we were a kid like 15 and a tough show with again, this is all full circle TV, but

Chuck Shute :

he's a singer tough and then just now your manager right?

Rayen Belchere :

Right. In this whole thing, and he's a he's a great friend. We've been friends since I met him at a Wednesday show at the whisky 15 years ago. But, but yeah, so Wednesday he did the murder dog thing and then he got offered a deal and we stay friends and he caught me. Since we love the same stuff he knew I was into he calls me up and he goes, Hey, you wanna play bass for the band and that you had just like, boom off to the races and we were in Germany. And at Norbert, we play in a festival. And we got him he and I got invited by Nicky to hang out in the dressing room. So it was me Nikki Sixx. Nailed it Wednesday. 13 and what sorry 2005 Okay. And so we can say that we're looking at each other like how did we get here? Because two kids without because his mom was a shorter cook too, or is one and so, how we got here. It now moment was like you could have bought a million scratch off tickets and not not ended up there so that was a that was really cool and Nikki and those guys are great to us we got to stand on the stage they gave us passes and Nikki invited me and at the time our guitar player Peggy DS are now play for Rob Zombie band. Need piggy and Nikki all went and we toured like all kinds of stuff from like historic stuff he wanted to see and I was just such a geek. I was like, dude, I'll go anywhere. I don't care let's go hang out. Yeah, but yeah, big fan and that was kind of like that was one of those moments where I was like, I could die now kind of thing is such a cool moment and yeah, they

Chuck Shute :

have like a big entourage with them was there like crew and girlfriends and other and other people? Or was it just like the five or six he said or

Rayen Belchere :

meaning when Nikki mean Nikki, Nikki de and whoever Nikki handler was Aside from the local crew, and it was just before of us walking around checking out stuff.

Unknown Speaker :

That's crazy.

Rayen Belchere :

And I've had the opportunity to meet Nikki again, probably 20 times since and I, I avoided because I had such a great day with that guy. And he was such a hero of mine. I'm like, dude, I'm on. I'm cashing out, bro. I don't want to. I don't want to dip it. Yeah, I don't want to run, run into that debt. Everybody has a bad day. I don't want to run into him when he's when he's having a bad day and ruin that I have such a great memory of that. And but yeah, they went from being a member of the fan club that ate to play him with him in Germany. So it's great.

Chuck Shute :

And then another person that you got to one of your heroes he got to play. You got to sing background vocals on schools out with Alice Cooper.

Rayen Belchere :

Yeah, we own that. In that same year later that year. We did like a three week run with Alice in the last night was Halloween. And we were at the grove in Anaheim, California. And you know, we Word, timid and we were all worship Dallas. And I saw Alex that day in catering and I just said, Hey, Alex, I just wanted to thank you for having us. This has been the thrill of a lifetime. And I said, I know you hear this all the time that you've never heard it from me. When I was a kid for years straight, I wore your makeup to school on Halloween, and I was Alice Cooper for Halloween because that was kind of an easier makeup and Dean Simmons and my mom needed to do it. And he kind of laughed and he was just like, well look at this now you're playing with with me on Halloween. I was like dude, I can't wait to see the show. And he just said be on the side of the stage that the end and I didn't really know what that meant. But me and Wednesday were standing there and Alex looked at us and it's like, get over here and he just put us on the background mic and in the did all the balloons and the balls and it was a it was a nerds dream come true. I felt like a Make a wish kid you know like somebody

Unknown Speaker :

You know,

Rayen Belchere :

but, but that's just the truth. I felt like Who am I about to die? Is this God's way of saying you had a great life because this does not happen to you know, chubby kid from rocky without, you know, Wednesday and I had no connections in this business. No lesson from anybody. We didn't have a rich family we come from poor, poor neighborhood. You know, I lived on a dirt floor with a crate with a TV with aluminum foil watching Headbangers ball and I was a kid like to come from there to accomplish that little bit well not a little bit just to accomplish that lot. You know, I was ready to cash in but I just you know wanted to evolve myself and when i when i after we did those two tours, it became evident to me that what is it and I were both songwriters and both front guys and I was just like, you know, I got to do everything I wanted to do Wednesday's one of my best friends. So I kind of resigned from playing with him to start my own project which is early re back then. And the whole idea was the older I got, the more I understood in like, country music like Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, I'm listening to him at 2829 going, I get it. I get right.

Chuck Shute :

Now you know how to struggle and talk about paying the bills and heartache and all those things like you, you get that now.

Rayen Belchere :

Right? It's so my idea was, you know, I want to do some fresh and new and I and I was playing with house money because I kind of accomplished all my childhood dreams in some ways. At that point, I saw it. And I was like, I just want to put together country band because at the end, I'm six foot four, you know, you go to these towns that you see people try to recreate the idea of glam and it's like, dude, you're 50 and you don't look like Bret Michaels. You got it you got you got to get in your lane, bro. Like but these people hang on to it and wear these wigs and look crazy, but I love the music. So I didn't want to approach it like that. I wanted to be myself. Mike, let me do something that's fun. I want to just as a creative person, I want to put step my foot into the storytelling of country music. But I want to see how much of the Sunset Strip ad I can kind of insert through the backdoor. And kind of because country music fans, I will tell you are most like 80s rock fans, they just want to show up. They want to leave their brain and their problems in the car and go have fun. They don't want to be they don't want to be preached to they don't want to be you know, they don't want people to tell them how to feel about certain to a point a walk in, have fun, meet a girl or guy have a few drinks party, here's some good music party and go home that and so that's kind of when I went to a few of those shows. I'm like, this is a poison concert. But I'm I'm at a data now. This is a poison. And so that's kind of how it started. And and yeah, that's, you know, that's kind of what I've been doing for the last while.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah, so tell the story. I mean, I've already heard it, too. Tell my audience how you came up with the or you didn't come up with I guess it was your grandmother that gave you the nickname early Ray.

Rayen Belchere :

Yeah, when I was putting the band together, I didn't want to call it Ray in belfair. Because for several reasons, nobody can pronounce the same My name ever. And. And so, but I just didn't want to call it like railroad junction or just some generic name. Yeah. You know, I wanted to give it something that had a little vibe. And my grandparents, this was years ago. So you know, all good, but they both have passed away right around that time. And so I was thinking about them a lot. And I remembered my middle name is Earl, my grandfather's Name Is Earl. So when we would come in from fishing, or you know, he would take me wherever my grandmother would always say there's Earl and early Ray, but my first name's Ray and, and, and that always stuck with me. And so when we're coming up with band names, I'm like early re that's easy to say and spell My grandmother's nickname. Let's see if the.com is available. That's always kind of a test. Right? All right, calm today. So I got on the search it was available. I bought it and trademarked the name. And you know that I just felt like that was a cool, cool tribute to my grandparents gave the project the name of the band on a solo guy. Yeah. And yeah, people seem to dig it.

Unknown Speaker :

Yeah, that's great. And

Chuck Shute :

then you've got a you put together a great band. So let's talk about that. Because you've got the Hootie and the blowfish drummer, I guess he does percussion for them, but he plays drums for you. Gary green right now, how does that work? Because he's technically still in hooting. The blowfish too. Is there ever a conflict there?

Rayen Belchere :

No, actually Mark Bryan the guitar player from hoody was producing some of my stuff. I don't know. 12 years ago we were he was working on songs with me. We were working on the curly haired guy you see in all the videos and his name's Mark Brian. While we were there he goes, I want to bring in a drummer to play the play on your tracks. He's great. And he is our percussion player. And of course, I was familiar with duty. Very familiar with city so they're from here.

Chuck Shute :

Did you ever go to the hooting the blowfish monument in South Carolina?

Unknown Speaker :

To the right,

Chuck Shute :

they have like a it's like a monument kind of thing. I went there. It was like it's in South Carolina. You never been to that.

Rayen Belchere :

Man, I don't recall. I've been to every hoody thing. They do a thing called Monday after the math. Yeah,

Chuck Shute :

they put it on your nerd location list. I know. We'll talk about that in a minute too. But anyways, yeah. So you said they had Gary come in to play the drums?

Rayen Belchere :

Yeah, he comes in, he crushes it. And we start talking about Iron Maiden. And we started to bond over our love of like, 80s and then the control guy turned around. And we started just nerding out and I was like, what you said you came from Roku. And he was like, yeah, we have Rocky was like me to where we're at. And we started narrowing it down. Turns out we lived about 200 yards from each other. Wow. So as when I was putting the band together I called mark and he was kind of on a break because Sirius was doing country and I called Mark and I said Hey Mark, I just want to you know, be respectful. You mind if I ask Gary to play some shows with me? He said absolutely not man go for it. It's called Gary and he's still in the band is many years later but we you know, I certainly when he has to go to do his his, you know, his written big gig but you have to go do that. When you go do that. We use kind of a sub and we have a few guys who use but he's the he's the founding drummer, slash member of the band and he's the guy that you see in the apple pie video. Cool. And then you ever watch. I'm sorry, if you ever watch Hootie, he's got playing percussion, right.

Chuck Shute :

And then so the rest of the van is filled out by the basis. Carrie Brooks from the Indigo Girls and then a fiddle player, Joanna Perry. And then you also had the warrant guitarist play a billy Morris he put the play just on Apple Pie though he didn't plan any other songs. Right?

Rayen Belchere :

Right. Yeah. Yeah, he came in. The idea actually came from Billy - Billy was a good friend of Jani's and he was in the band Warrant towards the end and Jani's solo band and the original first conception of this whole "Apple Pie" with on "Cherry Pie" started with him and went to Stevie (Rachelle, Tuff singer, Early Ray Manager) and Stevie brought it to me four years ago- three or four years ago, but understandably right I didn't hold any grudges, but when I heard it, I'm like, that's fine. There's literally one guy that's in current country music that's qualified to do this because in my opinion, country and 80s you have to have a certain level of authenticity or it looks fake. You can look at The Motley Crue country tribute and, you know, I rest my case. They use a lot of.... Most of those people didn't the difference between Motley Crue and Mott the Hoople, they just played the song. And again it shows, when you listen to it, you're like these guys don't get it. And so I really wanted to bring in together the vibe of both genres and, and I'm sorry I got off track here, I'm just running my mouth but how we ended up yeah, that's how we ended up here. And then years, few years ago when he got the call, Stevie calls me up and he's like, hey, check this out. And I called him back and like, I want that song they let me do that. And he calls Billy and they wanted like, you know, bigger artists like Zach Brown or out (Jason) Aldean or somebody on it, and I understand, but I told me back then I said, nobody's going to understand this. But me and then back in January this year, I just called Stevie I said, Hey, I'm gonna you know Hootie's off tour, Indigo Girls, Amy Ray.... They're all off tour. We're doing stuff with the band. I'd like to cut that song is it? Is it available? And he calls Billy and Billy goes, Yeah, dude, nobody's picked up on it's just sitting on a hard drive and somewhere in Nashville so we tracked it down and I was flying to LA and I went to Matt Thorne studio who recorded Jani a lot and cuz I wanted to do it in LA to give it that that vibe and the next day I was at the Rainbow (Bar and Grill in LA) shooting music video with Bobby Brown and Stevie got on board and we we finished the video about a month ago here in South Carolina and here we are with a with a cool singgle and a tribute to Warrant and Jani Lane.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah, no, it sounds good. I love it. Yeah, that is cool that Bobby Brown who she's in the original Warrant Cherry Pie video. She makes a cameo in this one but go let's go back for a second because Tell me your friend... you kind of had a friendship with Jani Lane. Basically you met him in at the National music convention. It's NAMM. I always forget what that stands for in LA but tell the story about that how you got to know Jani lane.

Rayen Belchere :

Well, it's a little bit of a Long story, but I'll touch on all the parts. When I was a kid. My first concert I ever saw my brother took me was Poison and Warrant on I think Flesh and Blood tour. And Joey Allen threw a guitar pick at me. And I was just so... technically they were the first band I saw. And they make such a big impression. I was just such a fan. And then I just started to realize how much of a great songwriter Jani was like, I'd hear other bands in that era, and in the music was, some of it would be disposable. But Jani always had like lyrics that were clever. They were deep, they kind of approach things differently. And so it was on my bucket list as a kid, like, I gotta write a song with that guy. And I just liked the songwriting, and I was at NAMM in 96 or 97. And I saw it in and I was like, freaking out as being a nerd. And and I stopped him and said, Hey, can I grab a photo? And I could tell he was not really in a good mood. And I said, Hey, man, thank you, guys. Just think you're a great songwriter, and he stopped. He turned around, and he goes, What do you say? I said, Dude, I'm just a fan. I think you're a great songwriter, I'm sorry to bother you. And he came back, shook my hand and apologized and said, Dude, I needed to hear that today. Thank you, you know, and he goes, fuck that picture, screw that. Screw that picture. And he goes screw that picture. And he stopped and somebody walked in and said, we take this photo for us. And we took the photo with you seeing the Sludge article. And then so then years later, I was working with years later, I had a band and we were working with Mike Rafeal from Jailhouse, working with John Kalodner Portrait Records trying to get you know work out a deal with him and John Weakland, we had it all set up. And when I was out there, we had to find an attorney, because we were on our way to signing a record deal. This was a band called Ultracide that nobody's ever heard of, but it was a band that was in and we did some demos.... And so we did we, so a list of attorneys came at me. And one of them was Owen Sloane. And I was like, that's who repped Warrant because I saw his name in the record. I want that guy. I trust him. I was 21. And at 22 I was I trust that guy. So he repped Warrant. So he did the showcase at the Viper Room for management. So afterwards, all the managers who wants to come once you have a deal, they all want to manage you, right? So we went up to the we went up to the Rainbow, and to kind of interview with the managers to see who's a good fit. And I didn't know who was who I didn't know who rep who I didn't know anything. And I walked up to a guy and he goes, Hey, man, you're good songwriter. I don't have all night. What do I got to do to get you Who do you want to work with? Who do you want to produce your record? Who do you want to write with? I said, Man, this is gonna sound crazy because back then in the, you know, late 90s "glam rock" on the strip was like a dirty word. I looked at him. I looked at the guy and I don't know if you've heard of this guy, but I'd love to write with a guy named Jani Lane. Well, the guy said that too ended up being Obi Steinman, who was Jani Lanes manager. So Obi being such a gangster and I love Obi, looked right over my shoulder to all the other managers waiting to talk to us on the patio. He goes, go home guys, he belongs to us. And I looked at him like what do you mean? He goes hold on and he picked up the phone and the next day, Sound Arena in Van Nuys writing songs with Jani and we kind of struck up a friendship mostly over our mutual love of college football. He's a Ohio State Buckeyes fan. I'm a South Carolina fan. And we had just played each other in like the Outback Bowl. So we're just bonding over that. And, you know, we became buddies, we, you know, we would run into each other. We chat and text occasionally during football season. You know, we weren't best friends or anything, but we certainly were friendly and we wrote songs together. You know, we run into each other Have a drink at the Rainbow kind of thing. And wow.

Chuck Shute :

So tell me what happened those songs that you wrote together? Did they ever see the light of day?

Rayen Belchere :

No. They're in my bedroom.

Chuck Shute :

Oh.....

Rayen Belchere :

There's three songs and I never put them out because after me it was just about the learning experience. And you know, getting to study with one of my who's somebody I considered a songwriting master right? I get to study with them. And I didn't really take it like the songs were meant to released, but they're great song. And it's, you know, this "Apple Pie " thing generates enough interest. Maybe, you know, maybe I'll, I'll let a couple out. You know, but you have to re record them that Yeah, 20 something years old.

Chuck Shute :

Well, yeah, but so you'd so give him a songwriting credit or whatever. How's that work?

Rayen Belchere :

That's the thing. I don't know. If I dusted those things off, I would probably have to call you know, Somebody and arrange a co- writing all that credit, but I don't, you know?

Chuck Shute :

I'd like to hear them... I'd love to hear. I mean if you're if you're rerecorded just to hear well, you know what you two came up with, I bet it was great.

Rayen Belchere :

And the further the story when it went, again, these are this is a 20 year old story. So when I was working with Jani, we come up with some songs, we had a good list of songs, and Obi goes, he wants to produce the record. I say Beau Hill, but he produced the first two Warrant records. I just went because that was just a dumb kid from the south. I trusted what I knew, I'm like, Yeah, I love that. Warrant, I want to use that same recipe whenever that recipe is what I want to do. And we next up we're in a rehearsal room with Beau he was set to produce the record and then all of a sudden our big showcase dates and the label John Weakland, John Kalodner, our management everybody was September 11 2001. And as You can imagine as that got we actually ended up doing the showcase at SIR on Sunset, but as you can imagine all the labels decided to pull anything new and not release anything very much like right now. And we kind of got shelved out. We all came back home to Carolina and you know, I've maintained a good relationship with all those people. Because there were you know, none of us could have helped what happened but yeah... Obi was great, he hooked me up actually wrote with Donnie Vie from Enuff Z'Nuff,

Chuck Shute :

Oh yeah I just had him on here!

Rayen Belchere :

Yeah, read with those guys back then I wrote with Rick Stier, who played in Warrant and also was in a band called Kingdom Come. Yeah. I wrote with Jason Hook from Five Finger Death Punch. I was just this kid with an acoustic guitar going around like holy crap. And yeah, and it was it was like a dream come true for me back then. But, yeah Obi definitely hooked me up with Jani and then when Jani was doing a tour of just a solo tour with Kevin Dubrow, Obi called me and he's like, hey, do you know anybody? I'm doing a routing date. And I found him a date in Rock Hill at a place called "The Money." And when and that was the first day Jani landed, and they broke his tailor guitar at the airport. So I don't know where it came from. I think somebody bought it, and they sent it to him. So he played another guitar. He did the whole run. And he was coming back through town. I took him to the airport. And as he was getting out, it was a guild deal with acoustic and a lot of pictures of him playing it. He got out of my car at the airport. And I was like, hey, Jani, you forgot the guitar. It's in my it's in the truck. He goes, keep it. It's yours. Right, uh, hit with it. I still got it today. So that's my thought. Yeah. Wow. There's a lot of history. A lot of history with that guy.

Unknown Speaker :

You know, I was

Rayen Belchere :

Yeah, when people listen to this Song and they think this is just some country bumpkin play in this Warrant song. It's a lot deeper than that.

Unknown Speaker :

Yeah, no and

Chuck Shute :

and you guys have some other songs with early Ray that are that are great the fried pickles and what is the other one called Where the Wild Things Are that was called? Right? Yeah. songs

Unknown Speaker :

so and you guys?

Chuck Shute :

yeah you've got to play with some besides you know your rock bands that you play with you got to play with some big country names too like Chris Stapleton Zac Brown band Eric church,

Rayen Belchere :

right? Right. Yeah. What about earlier, it was really heavy in the area A few years ago. He had a really good draw. And if anybody knows how this business works, it's a bands on the come up. They usually put a good drawing local band on the bill to help pick itself, you know, and we were that Dan for about three years at anytime somebody came through and the tickets weren't moving that quick. They would call us up and we added a couple of hundred tickets to the bill and we get to play with them but we play with Justin Moore.

Chuck Shute :

Charlie Daniels right then he just passed away. What do you remember about opening for him?

Rayen Belchere :

You want to hear another crazy story?

Chuck Shute :

I'd love to hear crazy story.

Rayen Belchere :

The thing I remember the most is when I got off stage that night I got a text that Danny at that oh, that's the night yeah, that how that is a relic. Yeah, so but Charlie Daniels was absolutely a beast. Don't get it twisted. If people think he was only great on the violin, go watch and play guitar on some videos. He was a monster player, entertainer and yeah, we got to open for him. A lot of those guys and we would just get stuck on bills and you know, we go do the gig and we meet the guys in the band. Next thing we know they were huge superstars and they come through and they didn't need us anymore and it's all right. But you Part of the part of the history but yeah, I've gotten to play with everybody from a player to Charlie Daniels. I don't know many people who've done that.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah, that's a pretty good a collective mix. Is there anybody that you haven't met or haven't played with that's on your bucket list.

Unknown Speaker :

Ozzy, whoo.

Chuck Shute :

I interviewed this bass player of Glasgow who's in a white zombie and and also played with or played with Rob Zombie and Ozzy. And so I think he felt the same way. He's like, he felt like that was the epitome. He's like, well, now what do I do? I've already I've done everything.

Rayen Belchere :

Right. I mean, Ozzy is a guy that I was such a fan of, and still a fan of I saw him one night in West Hollywood. It was at the hustler store. He was in there with a few people. And they were they were doing like a interview of him walking around the hustler, so I guess he probably didn't even know Worried that To be honest, but he was just walking out but I was too scared to bother him because again, I didn't want to meet him and when he was having a bad day and have my whole childhood ruined, so I kind of regret regret. Usually I'm the guy that'll that'll speak and talk to people but that one I kind of regret but, you know, you know, I hear he's having some struggles and So certainly, you know, shout out and best wishes to the whole Ozzy fans and fans. But yeah, blast goes great. Glasgow is the guy who actually put CBD from Wednesday 13 bands. He's the guy who actually put him in Rob Zombie sandwich.

Chuck Shute :

Oh, yeah, he told me that whole story about how he's like, I'm gonna leave and I'm gonna, I'm gonna pick my replacement. You won't even know I'm gone. And I guess one of his friends. How did you play in both bands because Robin Ozzy played together and he's like, that wasn't me playing and Rob's off. He that was my friend. Yeah, that's funny.

Rayen Belchere :

Yeah. Yeah. Hundred percent that he's the guy who wins I left the Wednesday project take me left shortly after, not for any other reason Ben he lived across the country and it was just tough and then he had been trying to he had been trying to he had been on the bench for that gig I think him in Glasgow had had talked about it for a long time. And so he finally got the call, you know, from from the minor to go to the majors and we've had that you get he's had that gig ever since. I know because I

Chuck Shute :

talked to blast about that. Like, now Why did you give that up? Because although Ozzy's a good gig, you figure Ozzy's only got so many more years whereas Rob Zombie I mean, he's gonna keep going for a lot longer because he's younger and Blasco like I know, but I just wanted a chance to play those songs. So

Rayen Belchere :

yeah, yeah. That's called doing it for the right reason. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, hundred percent. He's a great dude and a monster player as well. Absolutely. Yeah.

Chuck Shute :

So you had you guys had some tour dates lined up with early Ray but of course, the pandemic screwed everything that up now, can you guys collect unemployment as musician? or How are you surviving with that kind of thing?

Rayen Belchere :

I can really only speak from my cell because I don't really know everything about the other guys everybody kind of still and they have to do I take a few gigs here and there outdoor patio gigs are lineup they, they're letting them do it but but unemployment now like what's crazy is I pay taxes as a musician literally over 20 years it's been my job. And when I file for unemployment I called and they said we don't consider this like a job. And I'm like, Well, yeah, I said, Well, why did you take my money for 20 years of taxes? And they still haven't answered that question. And I'm still just getting by and thankfully My wife is a nurse and so her job is a priority. And so she's helping maintain everything while we're kind of struggling through this whole pandemic and hopefully we can get Get back at it.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah, no, I hope so. How are you guys? I haven't checked all the states. I don't know it's South Carolina. Are they ramping up or they feel like they things are slowing down there. I don't know if you know, but Arizona is like one of the worst right now. That's where I am so

Rayen Belchere :

well, my wife called me back in, I want to say, April, that predictions for this area, being a hot spot was late June, July. And that's totally come true. Right now we're we're kind of getting our wave of what kind of Arizona's getting Florida's getting South Carolina's getting it. You know, we're certainly we're not as cramped up like New York City or LA so you know, if you want to, you know, social distance and you know, kind of shelter in place. It's, it's not as hard to do here. But yes, certainly. It's certainly become a thing, but we haven't set the state down. We haven't, you know, there's regulations and stuff you got to follow. But so far, you know, if you watch TV, they make you think South Carolina is on fire. But it's, you know, there's people who got it, and I don't want it. You know, I'm not smart enough to even know what it is. So I do my thing and I said, stay at home, I wear my mask. You know, I don't have questions. I haven't had a guy. I had a guy asked me a few days ago an interview how I felt about him like, dude, I really did cherry pie care about how I feel about medical things. I'm not the guy you should talk to. Because I really don't want anybody to listen to me on that, because I don't even know.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah, I agree. I I'm the same way. I'm just like, I do what the people tell me to do I social distance and you know, we're the mask and I stay away from people until they say it's safe. Oh, it'll come out I guess.

Rayen Belchere :

Yeah, that's, you know, otherwise you drive yourself crazy with all this conflicting information. Right now the dip and that like a couple of months ago, I just pulled the plug I wake up. I think Bill burst is on Joe Rogan's show, he goes, You know what, I wake up, I go, where are we at? What's the rules? Okay, and then I go in, and I work around those parameters, you know, and that's what I do. You know?

Chuck Shute :

Yeah, you're right. You could drive yourself crazy. consuming all the information. I mean, it's literally never ending with all that stuff. You could just consume articles, videos, and all that so

Rayen Belchere :

100% and, you know, my biggest thing is, you know, I try to keep my immune system on a, you know, a good level. So I go walk and I get sun, I eat fruit, I drink water, you know, I do. take vitamins. To me, that's the things that will give me the best chance if I get it, you know, of survival and math. So, you know, it's in the cards, it's in the cards, but so far knock on wood. You know, we've been we've been blessed in heaven. gotten it or anybody in the family?

Chuck Shute :

Yeah, that's good. Well, so when things do open back up, I noticed that I thought I was only dork that like to do this but you like to go travel to like famous places for movies and album covers and music videos and stuff. So I saw you went to the Wonder Years house you went to like Back to the Future, the vacation movies like you have this whole like side project where you visit these famous locations.

Rayen Belchere :

Yeah, I started when I was a kid, because like I said, growing up here, there was nothing. And to me Los Angeles was TV when, ya know, when I was when I started to go to Los Angeles. I'm like, Hey, that looks like naki Tommy power from diehard and I was like, that is not good. I was like, I gotta take a picture. Yeah, and then I see this. I gotta take a picture. Next thing I know I had had a lot of pictures and it became a hobby and I literally thought I was the only person on First that did it like I would find the Sanford and Son building and I would find out what the Karate Kid locations and I was just a geek and then I kind of was posting pictures for a long time and a few of the people in that kind of subculture hobby found me and connected and surprisingly it's a pretty I wouldn't say a big hobby it's not you know, Pokemon GO or anything but there's a lot of people who do it and and if anybody wants to see any of my adventures on Instagram is this nerd location. But yeah, I go, I you know, I document rock and roll history. I document movie history, it's more of just pop culture.

Chuck Shute :

That's great. No, I do the same. I've been to like other big Breaking Bad fan so we went to New Mexico we did all those locations. I went to the police house back before they now they didn't they don't let you do that. But because I'm from Washington, so I drive through Oregon and California do all that. But yeah, you've you've definitely been a lot more than I have. So it's no it's really cool to see all those. Have you ever had trouble with some of the Like we went to the Breaking Bad house, we had these ladies that came out and they sat in their lawn chairs and they just gave us a dirty look the whole time.

Rayen Belchere :

Well, this is gonna sound a little bit wild, but it's the truth. When you're six four in your gigantic sleeve tattoos, people like to take the photo not fair that it is it but I had people would contact me like I couldn't get into the shadow to take that Zeppelin picture. I'm like, nobody bothered me. I kept my head down, walk into the photo walk out. The thing is, I think people look at you and go, you know, he bother nobody. So I get I get away with a little more than a lot of people by that, you know, just you know, I guess my size serves me to a point. You know, like when I go I went to the Michael Jackson thriller thing. Street in Los Angeles, which is just Skid Row all the way in Get Out and About four people start to approach me in the in the, you know, I'm probably a foot taller and all these guys and I just and I knew it was going to be bad. And so I just turned on the southern crazy switch and turned up the accent a little bit and ask them which one wanted to you know, he pulled out. And they're like, disbanded. Yeah, but that that kind of thing has happened. But, you know, you know, I talk a better game probably than I have. But yeah, it's, it's, I did a picture at the Friday location. And I had a friend of mine go and take the same picture and he got robbed. And it's just like, yeah, so you have to do a little homework, if you're going to get into this hobby, your little homework and make sure that you're prepared. But I would say 95% is just friendly, free and clear. You run into some of those jerks who like it's like, Hey, lady, if you didn't want people to take pictures don't move into Walter White cow. Exactly.

Chuck Shute :

Right, that's what I thought

Rayen Belchere :

that it's just like, you know, it's like being a legacy CEO of a company and getting mad forget to wear a tie. It's like come on, like, people. People will love this stuff. And by the way that's on my bucket list to to go to New Mexico and get their location. Oh, yeah,

Chuck Shute :

definitely do that. It's cool. And you get the Better Call Saul to it's actually funny because we went It was like, during the first season of Better Call Saul. So we went to the brother's house, and the guy actually came out and he was like, real friendly. And I was like, Oh, this is like pro usually now what we're used to, but I think it was so new that I don't think that many people have kind of been hip to it yet. And so he came out and he was chatting with us and he's like, hey, do you want me to come in and put the mailbox out because you know, the mailbox where they put the phone in? And if you watch the show, but I guess that's not even a permanent mailbox. It's like a it's like a temporary thing that they have to they take in and out. It's not even a real mailbox. So it's kind of funny, but

Unknown Speaker :

yeah, so you actually

Chuck Shute :

you actually made your own movie right Neato. Mosquito Tell me about that.

Rayen Belchere :

Yeah, like, like I said, I'm just a nerd creative guy. I, a lot of people when they're when they're out the artists, and this isn't this I think this is more or less, maybe an indictment on how mentally unstable I might be. But mostly we'll try one. One thing, one genre, and that's what they do. And I never I would she have to cheat myself if, if I had to play the same style of music from 15 to 50. You know, so yeah, I wanted to, I wanted to explore and when I was a kid, I was obsessed with movies, I'd watch national anthems vacation five nights a week on Betamax and and so in my 20s after the Wednesday tour, I thought you know, I, I don't know if you're much familiar with Kevin Smith's work but documentary. We had a documentary about cork called the snowball effect. And it talks about how he just said, screw it. I'm making a movie and he made it. And that inspired me. I'm like, You know what? I have all these ideas. I'm gonna make a movie. I had no idea how hard it would be. I was a complete, dummy. But thankfully with the help of my partner in that Brian Oxendine and a few other people and the cast and crew being really helpful and friendly and try and we all kind of had a common goal to make the tap and it came out. So if you like, super troopers clerk, Napoleon Dynamite and Juno, check out Neato mosquito. Okay, well,

Chuck Shute :

did you say it was free on YouTube? or something? Or how do we watch it?

Rayen Belchere :

Yeah, okay. Just go search it on YouTube. And, you know, it was it was never a thing that I expected to take off. Actually, after we made it. I kind of like, made it next. And I've always kind of been that way with some creative projects. It wasn't so much. I'm trying to be a filmmaker. I just wanted to do it. Yeah. That's cool. experience. It. I'm actually have have a few other scripts that at some point, you know make it turned into something but but yeah it's called Neato mosquito. It's a little weird movie and it's on youtube for free. And if you collect DVDs I have a few on eBay are like 10 bucks. So cool. Yeah,

Chuck Shute :

so and then besides I always like to end up with a charity. Is there a charity or nonprofit that you like to promote?

Rayen Belchere :

You know what I really dig people that donate that there's a group of people that go find GoFundMe for animals who are going through cancer treatments or stuff, there's a few shady ones, you can tell the legit ones and I think the most impactful thing you can do is go find an animal in need on there and so a few bucks that um, that's that's my charity of choice is led by raised money. Yeah,

Chuck Shute :

that's really cool. Yeah, that's the show there's there's a lot of animals that would be a need for that. So yeah, I think Never thought of that. But yeah, you're right. It probably is a lot of GoFundMe for that kind of stuff. I had to actually we actually had to put our one of our cats down about a year ago and it was like one of the hardest things I ever had to do, but I was just like, I don't want him to suffer anymore. Like, you know, so I just did it so yeah, but sometimes, you know, if you can if there's something that you can do a procedure that's easy or some sometimes expensive so that makes sense.

Rayen Belchere :

Yeah, for me, and this is not a knock on anybody charity, but you can if you know you send money to wherever you don't know where that money is going or chopping it up. But if you find it just say you like cats, right? And you like certain cats go type in cat help, whatever on GoFundMe, they'll probably be 10 or 20 people trying to mate raise money find one that you connect with and throw a few bucks at it. That's that's what I do when I have a few extra dollars and you know, my cup flowing over Not right now but time Yeah, but certain times, you know, it's kind of you know, I'll try to get back that way. And I see immediate impact because they keep you updated on the animal like oh surgery and then when you see the animal doing great and running around the yard, you're like, you know what, I had a small microcosmic impact on this, and it just fills your heart up.

Chuck Shute :

That's awesome. That's exactly why I always mentioned that at the end. I know it's might be a microcosm kind of thing, but it's better than nothing. Right?

Rayen Belchere :

Right, right. Absolutely.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah. So you've done a lot of cool stuff. I'm sure there's more to come. I look forward to seeing more from early Ray and, and also your filming locations. I'm gonna follow that desert. What early Ray would they ever tour over here in Arizona?

Rayen Belchere :

You know, Steve and I talked about it. That's been a lot of chatter about touring and who we would be great with and, you know, that kind of thing, but right right now is so uncertain. I think I got this from friends who are in In the industry, it feels like 2020 is kind of written off completely. So I think I think as far as touring, touring was go, we're probably looking at 2021. But certainly here, Arizona loves to party and have fun too. One of my craziest nights I've had in my life was I played a gig at ASU. ASU the sun, yeah. Yeah. Either. You got already like maniac.

Chuck Shute :

No, they definitely do. Yeah. And I'm like, right at the heart of it. Cuz I live in Scottsdale, which is kind of in between ASU. And then there's Old Town Scottsdale, which is just like a string of just bars. Just non stop. And so yeah, it's like, I'm getting a little too old for all that stuff. But yeah, it's it's fun to go out. I love going to concerts and stuff. So yeah, if you ever come down here, let me know. I'll try to bring in a little bigger than entourage as I can to come see you guys play. be fun.

Rayen Belchere :

Yeah, man. I'll buy your drink and shake your hand and thank you in person for having me on your show.

Chuck Shute :

All right. Well, thank you for being on. I appreciate it. In Touch.

Rayen Belchere :

Absolutely, brother. Thank you.

Chuck Shute :

Thanks. Bye. Bye. So that's rain Bell share from early Ray follow him in the band on social media. Check out his nerd locations page as well. If you enjoy the show, please write a review wherever you listen on iTunes or Spotify or whatever really helps out with that algorithm thing and then also you can hit the subscribe button, and then follow me on social media that way you won't miss any future episodes. You can also check out the old episodes that I have I got a back catalogue of episodes If you liked this one. Until next time, have a great day or night if you listen at night, and just remember to shoot for the moon.